Brushes with Greatness: the 23rd Annual Michigander

The 23rd Annual Michigander Bicycle Tour showcased some of the greatest trails, back roads and towns of Michigan. We had seven wonderful days of biking on the Pere Marquette State Rail Trail, the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail, the Betsie Valley Rail Trail, Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, Leelanau Trail and TART Trail. Celebrity sightings, wildlife, unbeatable views of cherry tree orchards and Lake Michigan are just a few of the many highlights from this year’s ride.

Throughout the ride, bicyclists were able to explore Pure Michigan on trails and back roads. Lush trees canopied over the trails, providing some much appreciated shade on the sunnier days. Michigander riders conquered steep hills to experience surreal views of miles of cherry orchards, and the cool breeze from Lake Michigan swept along the TART trail. Pedaling through the route, riders were able to meet new friends and reconnect with old pals. The ride has become a tradition for families and friends, who reunite for a week of making new memories and reminiscence.

Riders flocked into each of the picturesque towns at night, eager to absorb local flavor. The towns got a boost in tourism, with riders visiting local eateries, bars, ice cream shops and boutiques. In Leland, we had a brush with fame with a sighting of Tim Allen. Singer Alison Krauss and her band were spotted exploring downtown Traverse City before her concert at Interlochen.

Consistent with the sights and sounds of Northern Michigan, a few riders stumbled upon a brown bear passing over the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. Their hearts were pounding and adrenaline’s surged with this rare encounter, but were thrilled to have captured it all on camera! Riders were able to catch a glimpse of fish in hidden creeks and the Harrietta Fish Hatchery. Sailboats and kayakers lined the horizons of Lake Michigan and brilliant blue waters glistened alongside the boardwalk in Traverse City.

7-day riders crossing the finish line!
7-day riders crossing the finish line!

Veteran Michigander riders were awed by the improvement of trails, as Michigander’s of past rode the rough and rocky terrain of the Pere Marquette Rail Trail. The improvement of the trail system over the decade has these Michigander riders coming back for more. The recent signing of the Pure Michigan bill by Governor Snyder will translate into more trail improvements, along with towns creating businesses that cater to trail user’s needs. The hospitality of each town we rode through showed the support of the trail system throughout Michigan and the potential opportunities for economic growth.

We are honored to continue the tradition of exploring Michigan from a bicycle seat. Be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s ride, July 11-17. Thank you to everyone who rode the 23rd Annual Michigander Bicycle Tour this year and for supporting the Michigan trail system!


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